Physical Science

Patent-Violating* Chocolate Chip Cookies with Festival Speaker Jeff Potter

By USA Science & Engineering Festival Nifty Fifty Speaker Jeff Potter Jeff Potter’s Patent-Violating* Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo by Jeff Potter One of the biggest advantages that home-cooked foods have over store-bought goods is time. Commercial products have to be shelf-stable, so manufacturers have to come up with clever tricks to mimic home cooking. What…

“You wanted to see me, Herr Professor?” “Hans! Yes, come in, come in. Just going over the account books. Frightful amount of money going out of this place.” “Well, radium is expensive…” “Ha! Oh, and speaking of which– here’s one of the sources. Absent-mindedly dropped the fool thing in my pocket last night when I…

The Life and Death of Blog Networks

The hot topic of the day is, of course, the big shake-up at Scientific American’s blog network. The official statement is, of course, very carefully worded, but the end result is that they’re shedding a bunch of blogs and instituting a standard set of guidelines for those that remain. A more detailed breakdown of who’s…

Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes (Synopsis)

“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl Sagan 34 years ago, Carl Sagan became the first person to present —…

“…and take care that all the signatures go in the right way round, eh, James? I was able to soothe Mr. Dance last time, but if another copy comes back to be rebound, M. de la Roche will put you out.” “Yessir.” “A little more care, there’s a good lad. Run home, now, we’ll see…

Eureka: Waldo at the Galaxy Zoo

Over at Medium, they’ve published a long excerpt from Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist, that gives a good flavor of what the book’s really like. It’s about how the process for solving hidden-object games like the classic Where’s Waldo books is comparable to the process used by Henrietta Leavitt to revolutionize our understanding of the…

Comments of the Week #39: From Genesis to Fate

Kid: “Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best video game ever.” Billy Madison: “I disagree, it’s a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever.” Kid: “Donkey Kong sucks.” Billy Madison: “You know something? YOU SUCK!” -Billy Madison, 1995 Every week brings with it something new, but this is…

Scientific controversies aren’t always settled by a single dramatic experiment, but it’s a lot of fun when they are. It’s even more fun when they can be carried out with, as the author put it, “without any other apparatus than is at hand to every one.” I’m speaking in this case of the famous “double…

Eureka: Signing, Q&A, Canadian Review

A few items for Sunday morning: — First and foremost, in just a few hours from now, I’ll be signing books at the Open Door. If you’re in Quebec or central Pennsylvania, you better leave now; Boston or NYC, you can have a cup of coffee first. Farther than that, you might try calling them…

Speaking of the timing of astronomical phenomena, as we were yesterday, the timing of celestial bodies was the key to the first demonstration of one of the pillars of modern physics, the fact that light travels at a finite speed. This actually pre-dates yesterday’s longitude discoveries, which I always forget, because it seems like it…